Thermostats and Pancakes

Today a chat about food and comfort: Thermostats and pancakes!

Thermostats and Pancakes

You might have encountered this discussion yourself as well….. Mr. CF: why is it so cold in the house? Mrs. CF: I don’t know I have not touched the thermostat. Mr CF goes to up the temperature to find that the thermostat has crapped out (we checked, it weren’t the batteries). This all happened on Friday night at 20:00……crap stores are closed.

So the next (very cold) morning, the search begins for a new thermostat. Two questions that come up: what is available and how much do we want to spend on it? To answer the first question is: many! There is a large selection of thermostats, the basic ones have just a temperature gauge and two buttons, the fancy ones have 4 sensors for different areas of the house. These fancy systems are wireless/remotely operated, can be programmed with an app, are highly flexible (and so on and so forth). The first options costs a very reasonable €20,95, the second type up to a whopping €499, with the majority of them around the €100-180 mark. That is quite the price difference!

Expensive Thermostat
Expensive Thermostat

What do you need?

What do you “need”, well you certainly need a thermostat as it won’t be very comfortable or practical to live without heating. But it is more the want’s that come into play with the thermostat. The options start with do you want to be able to program (e.g. daily on/off cycles, temperature ranges, etc.), do you want to be able to remotely turn on/off the heating of the house, or whatever else you can think of related to heating the house.

Cheap Thermostat

After some debate, we opted for the basic €20,95 thermostat option. Why? We noticed that our living schedule changes significantly from day to day. We don’t always come home at the same time (subject to work, Miss CF plans to play outside after day-care or desire to what’s some Roger Rabbit, spontaneous weekend plans or other reasons), so programming does not really work that well. Which means the heating is either on or off at the wrong time (which is uncomfortable or a waste of money/energy). The remotely (app) operated would be a welcome features, but just not at the price of €150-499.

Our home these days in not too big anymore (~125m2 or about 1350sf) with lots of smaller living areas and rooms, so it heats up rather quickly; therefore increasing the temperature when coming home is not a noticeable problem for us. To keep things simple and frugal, we bought the cheapest option that does only one thing: keep us comfortable. We keep the temperature on about 17-18 degrees Celsius when we are not there and increase to around 20-20.5 degrees Celsius when we get home or if we feel cold. We have the advantage that we have large south/southwest facing windows, so the house heats up nicely during the sunny days. And with the about €130 we saved, we can also buy some sweaters 😉 Oh, and additionally we lowered the temperature of the boiler system to 65 degrees  Celsius (down from 80 degrees Celsius), this means lower gas use while still limiting the risk of nasty organisms in the water lines.


Also, on the same cold Saturday morning, we devised a simple plan to keep warm (at least around the stove) and enjoy a good solid breakfast at the same time: Pancakes!

Because we try to eat as healthy as we can, we prefer a plant based whole foods lifestyle. But that means that pancakes are not really the heathiest way to eat. However, we found a decent recipe to eat semi-healthy pancakes without the milk and eggs:

  • 700ml soy milk
  • 300 grams whole grain flour
  • Baking powder
  • Couple of apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
  • Real Canadian Maple syrup (skip this is you want to stick to the really healthy, but you have to enjoy life as well!)
  • Bit of oil for baking (we actually used olive oil for this)

Mix soy milk and flour, add backing power. Mix thoroughly. Heat pan, add some oil, and pour in batter. Add apple slices. Turn once half way and bake pancakes until golden brown. The end result looked like this:


Bon appetite!


  1. Hurry for pancakes saving the day! And I agree with the thermostat being on top of something that is needed. I would not be able to function correctly in the cold (thank god I live in the south where it’s cold probably 5 days out of the entire year). I have to be warm!

  2. This is a real coincidence, we had a mechanic visiting last wednesday because our heating broke down. Kind of similar to your story, although it wasn’t our thermostat that broke down, but the motor behind it. Too bad we have to get both replaced.

    I agree that you only have to buy what is necessary, instead of something fancy of which half you end up not using. We choose to get one we can program up front (but not via app), more over because if we don’t we’ll be freezing when getting home.

    1. That’s unfortunate that the motor broke, glad to read it was fixed quickly with the winter approaching. Hope the expenses were not too bad?
      A programabble certainly is more convenient, but we just could not convince ourselves to pay the extra money for it.

    1. Hey Sjoukje,
      thanks for the visit. If I would get a fancy thermostat for “free”, I would too, but currently the cost simply does not match the potential savings or increased convenience (at least not at this time). Maybe next time when the thermostat craps out 😉

  3. Those pancakes look good, even now when I just had dinner! And I am fully on board with respect to your choice for the basic thermostat. A nice extra saving to stash.

  4. When we replaced our HVAC system they gave us a new programmable thermostat for free. I’m sure it was baked into the price of the HVAC system but we went with the lowest cost provider.

    Since we have a fairly routine schedule it’s nice to have the programmable thermostat do all the work for us through automation. It’s nice having the temperature automatically start dropping down while we sleep and warm up as we’re waking up. It’s the little things in life that make me happy 🙂

    1. Nice, albeit as you note you probably paid indirectly for the thermostat. Still sounds like you got a good deal!
      Happy is a good thing, somethings it’s the little things in life that made the difference.

  5. If you can keep it in mind to always switch it on and off, a basic one is probably a good option. When we moved to our own house, we went for Nest. The main reason was that I know that there would’ve been many times when I would simply forget to switch it off in a rush. Not sure how much forgotten days you need to get to break even, I’m expecting a few years at least.
    We’re on the same page about the pancakes! Mornings are getting chilly these days, there’s nothing better than a warming breakfast! 🙂

    1. Point well made, we do have to think about it when leaving the house. The difference is not even that dramatic, so if you do forget once of twice, it’s not noticable.
      The breakfast was indeed nice and warm (and well received by Miss CF).

  6. Good post CF. I totally agree that the fancy thermostats are unnecessary. Usually the most basic options are even programmable now.

    We keep the house at 69F (20C) when we’re home, and 60F (15C). Fairly similar to what you guys do!

    1. I actually had one in my hands that was programmable for about €45. Still could not convince myself to buy it. Saved a nice €24.
      It’s pretty humid in this area, so going down as far at 18 degrees C is about doable for nights. Otherwise it really is cold in the bathroom! But during the day when we are not home we could go down to as low as 15 degrees perhaps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.